Redbridge elects its new Mayor, Cllr Felicity Banks, in special town hall meeting

New Redbridge Mayor Cllr Banks (right) in her robes alongside her deputy Cllr Tania Solomon

New Redbridge Mayor Cllr Banks (right) in her robes alongside her deputy Cllr Tania Solomon - Credit: Archant

The robes and chains of the mayor’s office have now been handed over and Redbridge has a new mayor for the coming year.

The Recorder spoke to Cllr Felicity Banks about her love of crime books, an 11 year campaign over daffodils and how she was inspired to be a teacher by a BBC sports commentator.

Cllr Banks, a Roding ward councillor, was elected last night, during a special meeting at Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford.

She said: “I look forward to the coming year. I would like to meet volunteers supporting charities in the borough and also visit some schools.”

She has chosen a charity for terminally and chronically ill children - Hopes and Dreams in Somersby Gardens, Redbridge - as her cause for this year.

“I met the volunteers and was so amazed with the work that they do. They give up their own time freely,” she added.

Cllr Banks was born in South Woodford and attended Wanstead County High School, Redbridge Lane West, Wanstead.

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It was there that her love of sport and teaching began after being taught by athletics coach and BBC commentator Ron Pickering.

“He was an inspirational teacher and had such a good rapport with the children,” she said.

“I wanted to work with children and help them on their way.”

She took up a post on the National Rounders Association, a regulatory body now called Rounders England, and was also an avid netball and hockey player.

Since giving this up she prefers digging in to a crime book.

After leaving school, Cllr Banks worked briefly for an insurance firm before becoming a teacher in schools in Redbridge and Waltham Forest.

And after taking early retirement from teaching she became a councillor.

“I have really enjoyed meeting residents and learning about their problems more than the political side,” she said.

“Getting those daffodils on Charlie Brown’s Roundabout took about 11 years of campaigning. It was such an ugly roundabout.”

After finishing her term as mayor, Cllr Banks intends to retire from politics.